Jeanswest is said to owe creditors at least $50 million, with around $2.6 million owed to the casual clothing chain’s nearly 1000 staff members, according to several media reports.
Employees will be first to be paid, according to KPMG’s James Stewart, one of the administrators who was appointed on January 15.
“Employees first, secured creditors get paid second,” Stewart told Inside Retail.
The administrators last week announced the closure of 37 Jeanswest stores and redundancy of 263 employees, including 21 from the head office, in an attempt to secure a buyer.
“Expressions of interest [to buy the business] close today, so sometime next week we’ll have a good idea of where we stand,” Stewart said, “but we won’t be in a position to talk about that publicly.”
The extent of the casual clothing chain’s debt was revealed at the first meeting of creditors, held on Tuesday evening. The next creditors’ meeting will take place in the next four to five weeks, and the administrators will release a detailed report with their recommendations in the week prior.
Jeanswest is just one of several high-profile retailers to have fallen into voluntary administration in recent weeks, in addition to Harris Scare, Bardot, EB Games, Curious Planet and McWilliams Wine.